Travel and far flung destinations are always on my mind; they always have been. While my friends dreamed of future nuptials, careers and babies, I was consumed by thoughts of countries and continents, of foreign cultures and unfamiliar food.
One thing comes to mind when someone asks what my passion is: travel.
So am I selfish for making my dreams of travelling a reality? Am I a bad person for making my family wonder and worry about me while I take off to gallivant around the globe? Does chasing my dream justify the fact that I’m abandoning my friends and family for extended periods of time? Am I crazy for not wanting to settle down?
These types of questions serve as a source of constant stress. Sometimes I feel so much guilt for
wanting longing to be anywhere but here, when here is where all the people who love and care about me are. And now that I’m only days away from moving to Edinburgh for an indefinite period of time, I’m feeling even more guilty.
It’s not that I don’t love my hometown, and it’s not that I don’t want to be near my family and friends everyday – I really do. But the longing and yearning inside of me is only quieted when I travel; it’s the only thing that brings me peace and contentedness, and it’s the only thing that makes sense in my mind.
After five years of travelling as much as time and money would allow, my wanderlust hasn’t subsided, and I still want to travel – now more than ever. The more of the world I see, the more I want to see. I will forever crave exciting adventures and new experiences. I will be constantly curious of other cultures and people. My heart will always ache for certain cities and countries. I will forever pine for foreign and faraway destinations.
Essentially, I can’t imagine myself settling down anytime in the near future. A life without travel is something I can’t comprehend, something that would leave me feeling hollow and unfulfilled.
It may seem as though I’m thinking only of myself by choosing an unconventional life filled with travel, but travel has taught me to be the opposite of selfish. I’ve become acutely aware of how lucky I am; the life of abundance and opportunity I’ve been given has never been more apparent to me, and I’m so grateful for it. I’ve become more independent, more outgoing, more compassionate, and less materialistic. I’ve become a stronger person as a whole, and I have travel to attribute for helping me grow into the person I am today.
If people were able to understand what travel has taught me, and what I’ve become because of it, would they still think I’m being selfish? Would they still say I’m just running away from “real life,” trying to postpone the inevitable? Would they still judge me for choosing to be away from my friends and family for long periods of time?
I hope not.
Do you think long-term travel is selfish? How do you cope with friends and family who don’t understand your desire to travel?